Nicola Smith, Executive Diploma in Organisational Change participant, shares her experience on the programme and why she would recommend the diploma to other professionals.
Executive Diploma in Organisational Change participant, Vivien Waterfield, explores why she took a leap and returned to study to develop skills that would support her career.
Earlier this year I went back to university – to learn about the future. If someone had told me only 12 months ago that this year I’d be at Warwick Business School (WBS) studying organisational change, alongside my leadership role at Home-Start UK, and loving every minute of it (yes even the late nights and long weekends spent doing assignments), I’m not sure I’d have believed them.
My first time at university in 1980's Manchester was a truly formative experience. I have many happy memories of those three years and of the world of learning that it opened up for me: the many new friends I made, the excitement of exploring the city’s thriving music and arts scene. Freed from the straitjacket of A’ levels and exams, I discovered a love of learning and a curious mind that I’ve carried with me throughout my career. Last autumn, my youngest daughter went off to university, and I found myself feeling a little restless but still as determined as ever to make a difference through my work. So, when I came across the Executive Diploma in Organisational Change at WBS, I took the leap and immersed myself again in the wonderful world of study.
Change is a constant for charities at the moment, as the world is shifting around us and the third sector is definitely feeling the effect. We’re seeing big increases in demand, growing pressures on resources, huge societal and technological changes, all of which have an impact on our work. Being able to adapt our thinking, our practices and behaviours is now a vital part of every charity leader’s toolkit.
This opportunity to learn from some of the leading experts in the field of change management couldn’t have been a better time for me and for my organisation. We’ve spent the last 18 months at Home-Start UK developing our new strategic framework with the Home-Start network and we have embarked on an ambitious programme of work together, so that in the future no parent feels alone in the critical task of bringing up their children. As we’ve been doing this planning I’ve gained many valuable insights from my studies that have been relevant to both the leadership team’s thinking and to my own day-to-day work. At times I’ve found it a surprisingly validating experience, as very often what I’ve learned has helped me build on my own knowledge and ideas. I’ve also had the privilege of getting to know and study alongside an incredibly supportive and friendly group of fellow learners.
It has certainly been one of the best decisions I’ve made and one which I can already see will help me and Home-Start survive and thrive through the turbulent times ahead.